January retail sales down 8.2% from December – How the sector can bounce back


Today, the ONS revealed that January retail sales have dropped 8.2% from December. While this a further signal of the mounting stakes for the industry, there is hope on the horizon.

 Melissa Minkow, Retail Industry Lead at digital consultancy CI&T, shares her thoughts here on how the sector can bounce back as we navigate our way out of lockdown.

“With retail sales falling sharply by 8.2% last month, and in the face of continued lockdown, the stakes have never been higher for retailers to evolve their strategies.

“Tightening up demand forecasting methods to streamline the supply chain will be absolutely crucial in minimising waste-generated losses. A major challenge as we navigate ourselves out of lockdown will be predicting which retail categories will bounce back quickly, which will bounce back more slowly, and which will become obsolete. For retailers that carry a variety of products, balancing the sales mix just right will be key. For retailers in niche spaces poised to face obsolescence, they must think carefully about how they can leverage their capabilities to re-invent their offering.”

“Despite these testing times, hope is on the horizon. There’s definitely an increasing desire on behalf of consumers to shop smaller- due to both lockdown’s imposition on the ability to get past a certain radius for retail, and the need to support struggling businesses. That said, there will always be scalability and logistical challenges with non-chain retail, which will maintain demand for mass retailers. Direct-to-commerce brands have also been a rising star during these times, and their ability to take the best of e-commerce into highly strategic brick and mortar locations make them a prime candidate for future retail winners.”